Happy New Year!
In this issue, we highlight some tips from life/work balance and stress specialist Simma Lieberman on getting ready for a successful 2004. We also present an excerpt from the new, exciting workbook, Putting Diversity to Work by Simma Lieberman, George Simons, and Kate Berardo. Take this assessment from Simma Lieberman Associates to get your diversity initiative started on the right foot in 2004!
We took our own advice: we got organized for 2004! As a result, a number of new features are now available at www.simmalieberman.com. This week, we launched the Simma Lieberman Bookstore with the recently released book, Putting Diversity to Work. We’ve also added a Recommended Resource section for our clients and redesigned our articles section for our dedicated readers. Take a moment to check out our updated site at www.simmalieberman.com.
Many of our readers have been asking when they could order Putting Diversity to Work for themselves and their employees. You now can, by visiting Simma’s website or by clicking on the link at the bottom of this newsletter. Thank you for your interest in Simma’s work!
Make 2004 Your Year of Organization
Organization plays a strong role both in stress levels and time management. When many people see a messy office or scattered computer file system, they experience a low-grade stress that carries over to many different activities and experiences. When it comes to actually getting work done, a disorganized workspace slows down productivity and can add to frustration.
That’s why we suggest you make 2004 your Year of Organization. While memories of New Year festivities are still fresh in your head, take a few minutes to make the following time-saving and stress-reducing steps in your workplace. Believe us, when the end of the year rolls around and you look back at what you’ve accomplished during the year, you’ll be glad you made these simple changes.
We love technology when it works, and curse it when it fails us. Keep your computer healthy and organized for less stress and more productivity with these steps:
Protect it. Make sure your Virus Protection Software is up to date (install it now if you don’t have it already). Run a full system scan for viruses at the end of your work day today to check for contaminated files. If you don’t know much about computers, spend 10 minutes familiarizing yourself with your software by going to the Help Section. Should you get infected by a virus or experience other complications, this will help you understand what you will need to do and how to do it.
Clean it up. Defragment your hard drive to make your computer run faster and run disk clean-up on your computer. If your computer allows it (check the help section) schedule these maintenance tasks to occur regularly.
Organize it. Take a few minutes to reorganize your files and programs. Start with your desktop. Erase shortcuts that you don’t need, and add shortcuts for some of your favorite programs. Open your documents files and give yourself a half an hour to thoroughly go through and put documents in their proper places. Set up an archive for old files that you don’t access often. Look at your files and their organization. If you create a file system that is logical and easy to follow, you won’t be stuck saving documents to the desktop or to other mystery locations where you have to do a search to recover them.
The Organizer: It’s supposed to keep us organized, but sometimes it serves as a kind reminder of how disorganized we really are. Kick your organizer into shape with these easy steps.
Assign rank. The first task is to determine what really is your organizer. Is it the address book on Yahoo account, your PDA, or your Outlook files? The downside of the abundance of life-organizing software is that it’s hard to keep track of which one has all the information you need. Look over the features, usability, and content, choose one program, and stick to it.
Merge. Next comes the daunting task of pulling all your contact information together and keeping it up-to-date. First, learn to import contact information from your other organizers. Again, check the Help section in your software to learn more about this feature (if your organizer doesn’t have this feature, then it’s definitely not the one to nominate as head organizer).
Fill-In, Delete. Now it’s time to update your content. Many of us put off this essential task and all-too-often have to deal with out of date information and undeliverable email addresses. Take a deep breath, and take a few minutes (hours? days?) to finally turn your organizer into a well-oiled machine. Go through your contacts, delete old email addresses, and fill-in missing information by contacting old contacts and requesting what you need (a good way to potentially ignite an old business relationships, by the way). If you have an assistant of any kind, have them do this for you and feel very, very lucky.
Always On. Once you have elected a head organizing program and have updated it, keep it open and on your desktop at all times. When you get a change of address email notice, copy and paste that information into the head organizer. When you receive a new business card or contact, enter it into your organizer as soon as possible.
Your Office Space
Spring Clean in January? Ever wonder why we do Spring Cleaning? Some might say we do it to head into the second half of the year fresh and organized. We say it’s because, come Spring, things are so messy for most people, it’s essential. If you start off with a clean office, you can keep your office clean throughout the year and prevent a mid-year hold up.
Find a place. Visually, it’s important that your office seems clean. Paper, clutter, and other visual mess can make you feel unorganized and stressed. Therefore, put things away and seek out desk space. File papers, put books in a shelf, and take advantage of drawer space.
Kid in a Container Store. Invest a few dollars in some organizing accessories that will simplify your task of getting organized and will allow you to stay that way.
Take advantage of Phone Time. Some people pace during conversations, some people clean. That’s right. When you are on the phone in a routine call, straighten up your office as you listen and talk.
Make the initiative to start 2004 organized! Following these steps, you can set up a streamlined workspace that will save headaches, smooth out your work days, and add to your daily productivity.
Excerpt from Putting Diversity to Work:
Excercise: Outlining Diversity Competencies for Managers
The New Year also is a good time to do a progress check on your Diversity Initiative and to set-up your goals for developing higher levels of diversity competence.
We have provided the following checklist below to monitor your diversity progress and help you create a plan of action for 2004.
This exercise has been adapted from the recently released, Putting Diversity to Work. (Crisp/Thomson: 2003) For best results, print out this newsletter, check-off those statement that you agree with, and highlight the statements that you feel weak in. These are the areas that you should focus on to build your diversity competence.
Outlining Diversity Competencies for Managers
How able do you feel in each area? Check (þ) the statements that you agree with.
¨ I can recognize my own biases and assumptions about others.
¨ I recognize there is more than one way to lead or be successful, and I can include different styles and cultures in decision-making, brainstorming, and feedback meetings.
¨ I know how to use what others have to offer.
¨ I can get objective information about the cultures of employees and external customers. This includes history, values, holidays, and so on.
¨ I can relate diversity to the business case and overall business strategy.
¨ I can listen objectively to complaints about harassment, inappropriate remarks, and behavior.
¨ I can describe how various markets (ethnic, gender, sexual orientation) affect our business.
¨ I am comfortable with different cultures.
¨ I know the laws related to disability, race, gender, and religion.
¨ I can hold people accountable for the quality of their work, whatever their background or culture.
¨ I am familiar with the different kinds of diversity and can speak comfortably about them with others.
¨ I can speak and present clearly to a diverse audience.
¨ I can create solid relationships with people who think and act differently from me.
¨ I know how to listen to, influence, and motivate diverse individuals and groups.
¨ I am prepared to mentor, coach, and develop the people under me, whatever their background.
¨ I can use organizational “street sense” and know where and how to get things done in the organization.
¨ I can model and encourage open communication and effective teamwork.
¨ I know how to and am willing to manage conflicts, disagreements, and claims of harassment.
Personnel Management and Performance Evaluation
¨ I am clear about the basic qualifications and competencies that are needed to fill a position.
¨ I can conduct target interviews and not allow assumptions and biases to influence my decisions-for example, hiring someone just because he is from the same culture or gender or because she is from a particular ethnic or racial background.
¨ I can apply the laws about the questions that are appropriate to ask in an interview and those that are not.
¨ I can measure an employee’s diversity competencies in an evaluation.
¨ I am comfortable in giving evaluations based on performance.
¨ I can document critical diversity incidents.
¨ I am able to find out what motivates different kinds of people to do their best work and what hinders them.
¨ I know how to study best practices of other organizations and transfer them to my own group.
¨ I know how to develop a large candidate pool for hiring and promotions.
¨ I can create effective measurements of diversity success in hiring, retention, and managing complaints.
¨ I know how to hire a good diversity consultant.